SAT Calculator Policy – What Calculators Are Approved for the Test?

If you are looking for a good calculator for the SAT, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll go over all the details of the SAT’s calculator policy and what types of calculators are approved for use on the test. You’ll also learn whether you should buy one, how to use it, and more.

Table of Contents

SAT Calculator Rules

The College Board, which administers the SAT, allows students to bring a calculator to the test, but there are specific rules that must be followed. These include:

  • Calculators must be battery-operated or solar-powered, with no built-in or external communication devices.
  • Calculators with paper tape or a built-in printer are not allowed.
  • Calculators with a QWERTY keyboard, such as a computer or a smartphone, are not allowed.
  • Calculators that make noise or have a lighted screen are not allowed.
  • Students must remove all protective coverings from their calculators before the test begins.
  • Calculator usage is limited to certain sections of the test.
  • Students should bring back up batteries or solar cells if they are using a calculator that is battery operated.

You can also check the College Board website for more information regarding the calculator policy for SAT test.

Types of SAT-Approved Calculators

The College Board, which administers the SAT, allows students to use certain types of calculators on the test. These include:

  • Basic four-function calculators (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division)
  • Scientific calculators
  • Graphing calculators

List of Approved Calculators for the SAT

The following is a list of approved calculators for the SAT as provided by the College Board. This information is up to date as of January 18, 2023.

Casio

FX-6000 seriesFX-6200 seriesFX-6300 series
FX-6500 seriesFX-7000 seriesFX-7300 series
FX-7400 seriesFX-7500 seriesFX-7700 series
FX-7800 seriesFX-8000 seriesFX-8500 series
FX-8700 seriesFX-8800 seriesGraph25 series
FX-9700 seriesFX-9750 seriesFX-9860 series
CFX-9800 seriesCFX-9850 seriesCFX-9950 series
CFX-9970 seriesFX 1.0 seriesAlgebra FX 2.0 series
FX-CG-10FX-CG-20 seriesFX-CG-50
Graph35 seriesGraph75 seriesGraph95 series
Graph100 seriesFX-CG-500** 
** The use of the stylus is not permitted.

Hewlett-Packard

HP-9GHP-28 seriesHP-38G
HP-39 seriesHP-40 seriesHP-48 series
HP-49 seriesHP-50 seriesHP Prime

Radio Shack

EC-4033EC-4034EC-4037

Sharp

EL-5200EL-9200 seriesEL-9300 series
EL-9600 series**EL-9900 series 
** The use of the stylus is not permitted.

Texas Instruments

TI-73TI-80TI-81
TI-82TI-83TI-83 Plus
TI-83 Plus SilverTI-84 PlusTI-84 Plus CE
TI-84 Plus CE PythonTI-84 Plus SilverTI-84 Plus C Silver
TI-84 Plus TTI-84 Plus CE-TTI-84 Plus CE-T Python Edition
TI-85TI-86TI-89
TI-89 TitaniumTI-NspireTI-Nspire CX
TI-Nspire CX IITI-Nspire CX II-TTI-Nspire CM-C
TI-Nspire CASTI-Nspire CX CASTI-Nspire CX II CAS
TI-Nspire CX II-T CASTI-Nspire CM-C CASTI-Nspire CX-C CAS
TI-Nspire CX II-C CAS  

Other

Datexx DS-883MicrontaNumWorks
Smart2  

Prohibited Calculators on SAT

There are certain types of calculators that are not allowed on the test, including:

  • Calculators with a QWERTY keyboard, such as a computer or a smartphone
  • Calculators with paper tape or a built-in printer
  • Calculators that make noise or have a lighted screen
  • Calculators with built-in or external communication devices such as a cell phone or wifi capability
  • Calculators that can be programmed are not allowed

Overview of the SAT Math Calculator Test

The SAT Math Calculator section (also known as Math Test – Calculator) is the second of the two Math sections on the SAT test. It is 60 minutes long and consists of 38 multiple-choice questions.

This section of the test is designed to assess students’ mathematical skills and knowledge, including algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. The questions will require students to use their calculators to perform calculations, graph functions, and solve equations.

The Calculator section is divided into two parts:

  • Part 1 consists of 30 multiple-choice questions. These questions will require students to use their calculators to perform calculations, graph functions, and solve equations.
  • Part 2 consists of 8 multiple-choice questions. These questions will require students to use their calculators to perform complex calculations, graph functions, and solve equations.

In this section, the questions will get harder as you progress. It’s important to note that, while calculators are allowed on this section, not all questions will require their use, and students are still expected to show their work and reasoning, even when using a calculator.

Do I Really Need a Calculator on the SAT?

It is recommended that students bring a calculator for the SAT Math Calculator section (section 4) because some questions will require the use of a calculator. However, not all questions in this section will require the use of a calculator, and students should be familiar with solving problems both with and without a calculator. Occasionally, there is one or two questions that do require the use of a calculator.

It is important to note that the College Board, which administers the SAT, does not require students to use a calculator for this section, but the test is designed in such a way that a calculator can be helpful in solving some of the more complex and advanced problems.

While the use of a calculator is allowed and recommended, it is not necessary to have the most advanced and expensive calculator. A basic scientific calculator is enough to solve most of the problems in this section.

Furthermore, students should also be prepared to perform calculations mentally and by hand, as well as to show their work and reasoning, even when using a calculator. This is because, the College Board wants to evaluate students’ understanding of the concepts, not just their ability to use a calculator.

Why are Four Function Calculators not recommended?

Four-function calculators (also known as basic calculators) are not recommended for the SAT Math Calculator section (Section 4) because they lack the advanced functions that are needed to solve some of the more complex and advanced problems on the test. These calculators are generally limited to the basic arithmetic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

The questions in this section of the test may require the use of more advanced mathematical functions, such as trigonometry, logarithms, and exponents, which are not available on a basic four-function calculator. Additionally, four-function calculators do not have the ability to graph functions or perform complex calculations, which can make solving problems more difficult.

While a four-function calculator may be sufficient for solving some of the simpler problems in the test, it is not recommended for this section as it may not be able to perform the calculations necessary to answer the more advanced questions.

It’s important to note that, while a basic four-function calculator may not be able to perform the necessary calculations, a scientific calculator or a graphing calculator can be used for this section and will have the necessary functions to solve the problems.

Does the SAT provide calculators?

No, calculators are not provided on the SAT. Students are required to bring their own calculator to the test. 

Not only do we advise that students bring their own calculator, we also recommend bringing extra batteries or ensuring that the calculator was fully charged the night before the test.

Can I use my smartwatch of phone as a calculator?

No, students are not allowed to use smartwatches or smartphones as calculators on the SAT. The College Board, which administers the SAT, has strict rules about the types of calculators that are allowed on the test. Smartphones and smartwatches are not allowed as calculators because they have the ability to connect to the internet and other external devices, which can be used to cheat or gain an unfair advantage during the test. Additionally, smartphones and smartwatches are not considered appropriate calculators as they have a QWERTY keyboard, which is not allowed on the test.

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